At a Glance
- This recipe database is easy to use, powerful, and flexible.
- The accompanying website doesn’t add much value.
Make grocery shopping easier, access 150,000 recipes, and analyze nutritional content.
The Internet is a great place to find recipes. Start with a
search engine, and a few clicks later, you can find almost any
recipe using any ingredient possible. But if you cook a lot and
have built up a store of recipes, a strong, flexible database
program can be very useful for finding and accessing favorite
recipes quickly and easily. BigOven ($16/year, limited demo) is an
easy-to-use and powerful database that lets you organize recipes
and find them in a flash.
BigOven’s word-processing-style interface has multiple panes so
that you can click on a recipe and bring it up on the same page. It
offers many different ways to browse for a recipe, including by
cuisine, main ingredient, course, and keyword. Once you’ve
found a recipe, you can easily edit it, add notes and tags to it,
convert from Imperial to metric system, rate it, and add it to your
You access all of these functions via buttons on the main page
of BigOven, which makes the interface seem crowded at first. But
once you’ve sifted through the many functions to find the
ones you want to use and the ones you don’t, this design
makes navigating, choosing and printing recipes as quick as it can
be. Everything has been pared down to fewest clicks possible. The
quickness and ease is what makes BigOven so powerful.
In addition to the standard functions, such as find, edit,
print, and share, you can create a shopping list from a recipe, add
the recipe to the calendar to create meal plans, post a recipe to
BigOven’s website, and put together a nutritional profile.
The Pro version will allow you to access the nutritional info and
grocery lists from its free mobile applications.
Those who already have a pile of recipes sitting in a box or
scattered through a shelf of cookbooks can add their own. BigOven
also comes stocked with a limited number of recipes, and you can
access more recipes by upgrading to the professional version for
$16 a year. Pro users get other extras as well, including a scan
recipe option for uploading a jpg of a recipe that BigOven will
convert, and a leftover wizard for creating recipes based on
ingredients on hand.
BigOven has a website, but it’s not nearly as robust as
the program itself. It includes a few instructional videos and some
weakly attended forums and a twitter-style stream where members can
post pics of their meals. There are also free apps for Android,
and Windows Phone, so you can access recipes from your mobile
It seems odd that BigOven’s website is its least
interesting aspect, given how strong the cooking community’s
presence is on the Internet. But that doesn’t hurt its
overall ease and usefulness. The standalone program, as well as the
mobile apps, syncs nicely with the recipes stored on the website,
and they all work well to provide a flexible system with which to
store, organize, and access any number of recipes.
Note: The price reflected here is for a